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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Winter Share #2 of 8: 11/12+11/14 Baby It's Cold Outside

by Erin and Steve on 11/09/19

It's about to be January in November real quick! It seems like mid-November every year there is a little 'winter is coming' check that Mother Nature likes to impose (everyone remembers Snowvember, right?). Last year there was a little burst of cold at the end of this week. But this year THERE IS AN ENTIRE WEEK OF JANUARY WEATHER IN THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER! We're lucky to have most of our winter crops out of the big fields right now. But as you Thursday picker uppers saw, we had to harvest the brussels sprouts early because there is no chance this week. We also have green leafy things in the tunnels that are semi-protected, but we're still crossing our fingers that those more tender crops will make it through this week, because THERE IS AN ENTIRE WEEK OF JANUARY WEATHER IN THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER that we hadn't planned for.
So we are doing our best to make sure these leafy greens make it to the next few shares, because real Winter is coming December 21st...yes, this is still Fall no matter what retailers are telling you. So this cool blast is a great reminder to everyone: eat winter vegetables. Srsly. It is a great way to help mitigate climate change. Get ready this winter to eat winter vegetables.
But since it is still Fall, this is what is in the share this week: carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery, salad radishes, kohlrabi, cabbage, onions, acorn squash, bok choy, scallions, parsley, fennel, chard, kale, brussels sprouts, head lettuce and leeks.

Winter Share #1 of 8 11/5+11/7 First Winter Share Pick Up

by Erin and Steve on 11/02/19

Very busy here at the Farm, and windy.  Excited to have the summer share done and ready for the winter share, did I mention the wind?  We are very thankful for the summer share season and for the wonderful members that joined us in the bountiful year.  We are looking forward to next season while preparing for the start of the winter share this week.  This weeks share will include:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, Parsnips, Celeriac, Turnips, Salad Radish, Kohlrabi, onions, Squash, Leeks, Broccoli, Parsley, Cabbage, Bok Choy, Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Celery and B.Sprouts.

Summer Share #22 of 22! 10/29+10/31 The Final Summer Share of 2019

by Erin and Steve on 10/26/19

That's right we've reached share pick up #22 of 22. That means it is the FINAL Summer Share pick up of the 2019 Summer season. With the abundant year we've had it's difficult to remember how horrific the Spring really was! So this week is the last time we'll see some of your smiling faces until next year. But we are doing the Thanksgiving Market at the Farm again this year, so maybe we'll see you then. The Winter Share starts next week, so if you've signed up for that share we'll see you then. (Just FYI the Winter Share is still Tuesday or Thursday, but from 3 to 6).
If you've never been to the Thanksgiving Market at the Farm, then think about stopping by this year! The share room will be open to you and any of your friends and family on Monday November 25th from 2 to 5pm with all the vegetables you'll need for your Thanksgiving supper. We'll have an exact updated list posted here the week before.
Otherwise, don't forget to renew your current share for the 2020 CSA season (if you are a current member this is your time to sign up for the summer share, fruit share, spring share, and meat share). We've got renewal forms in the share room if you need one, but we've also sent out a reminder email with the form attached.
It looks like this week is gonna be the start of some cold weather. So we've got the harvest schedule all ready and rearing to go finish the last of the harvest of all the more tender crops. Here's hoping the weather on Halloween is decent for all the trick-or-treaters.
The final share pick up will include: sweet potatoes, winter squashes, carrots, beets, cabbage, watermelon and daikon radishes, parsnips, onions, kale, chard, kohlrabi, salad turnips, celery, leeks, brussels sprouts, spinach, and scallions.
The fruit share will be a share-and-a-half again this week and will include apples and pears. Tis the season!

Summer Share #21 of 22: 10/22+10/24- You Don't Know What You Don't Know

by Erin and Steve on 10/20/19

**Just a reminder to get your renewal forms in before the close of the season (which is next week!).**
We encourage questions in the share room during share pick ups. It really is the easiest time to ask anything because Steve or I are in there for every pick up. Sometimes it's difficult to know what to ask, or sometimes you don't know how to ask it. For example, a woman looked at our beautiful purple bok choy last week and made a face at it. She said something to her friend while shaking her hand in the direction of the bok choy. But then it happened. She asked about it. How wonderful ;). She was confused why it was the color it was and if the weather had made it do that. If you've been in the share long enough you know that vegetables come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. So the answer was and is that it is a different kind or "variety" of bok choy that is naturally purple. And already this season you've seen white and green bok choy. And you know other veggies like carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, onions, radishes, turnips, and kohlrabi (to name just a few) have a purple-ish "variety" as well as other colors. It's natural, and it promotes diversity in our fields and in your diet. It is important to "eat your colors". If you have never heard "eat your colors" you should google it right now. It's a great way to make sure your getting the nutrients you need.
It's also important to keep in mind that what ends up on the tables in the share room is all intentional. We've planned for it all, including for there to be purple bok choy these past few weeks, and for you to eat it, and for you to possibly ask questions about it. So go ahead and ask me. Just try not to make faces at the vegetables, they might just make one back at you.
This second-to-last share will include: sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, fall and winter squashes, salad turnips, watermelon radishes, kohlrabi, fennel, radicchio, chard, kale, onions, bok choy (but don't go asking for any purple bok choy because it's all gone now), cauliflower, spinach, garlic, and leeks.
The fruit share will include apple cider, apples and pears.

Summer Share #20 of 22: 10/15+10/17 Steve's Birthday

by Erin and Steve on 10/12/19

Just so everyone knows, it's Steve's Birthday on Tuesday the 15th. We are also still renewing shares for the 2020 season for current members until the end of the month (which is also the end of this year's Summer share :0). So make sure to bring your payment. If you were unable to print out a form we have plenty in the share room for you to use. Also bring any questions you have about signing up, too. Steve has been in the share room a lot lately because I am still getting better from my bout with bronchitis. My allergies are severe this year and are adding to the problems, so I'll be in and out again this week.
We are spending our time still harvesting, harvesting, harvesting. We are bringing in the weekly harvests for the Summer Shares, plus checking off bulk harvests for the Winter Share. This past week we got the last of the sweet potatoes out of the ground, did the majority of the carrot harvest (over 2500lbs) and got our garlic in the ground. It's a lot to do, with smaller tasks having to get done when we are able. Up next is the rest of the potatoes. Wish us luck.
As for the share this week, it will include: sweet potatoes, winter squashes, potatoes, carrots, beets, cauliflower, salad radishes and turnips, peppers, eggplant, fennel, cabbage, kohlrabi, bok choy, kale, scallions, head lettuce, spinach, salad greens, and brussels sprouts!
The fruit share will include apples and pears.

Summer Share #19 of 22: 10/8+10/10 Share Renewal Starts this Week

by Erin and Steve on 10/05/19

Well, we got our first little frost of the Fall and that means it's time to RENEW YOUR SHARE FOR 2020!! Yes, all you current CSA members will be sent emails shortly with instructions on how to renew your share for next year. This is your big chance to renew because come November we will start signing up people on the waiting list to fill any vacancies ;)!!
The first little frost means that the vegetables out in the fields will actually start becoming sweeter. "Whaaaattt?", you ask. Plants will actually naturally start producing their own sugars to help prevent themselves from freezing when the temperature drops. It's a self defense mechanism for survival. Yes, mother nature has her own natural anti-freeze and it's called sugar! How amazing. And how wonderful for us veggie lovers, too.
So read your email in full (Srsly!) for all the info you need to renew for next year and come to the share with your payment in hand and ready to take home these guys: potatoes, sweet potatoes, buttercup squash, pumpkin squash, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, salad turnips and radishes, sweet peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, fennel, bok choy, kale, cabbage, edamame, garlic and head lettuce.
The fruit share will include seedless table grapes, apples, pears and maybe the last of the peaches! 

Summer Share #18 of 22: 10/1 + 10/3 In Stride

by Erin and Steve on 09/29/19

**FYI We're starting share renewals for the 2020 season for current members next week!**
Sometimes in the dead of Winter, when it has been white and even drab outside for a while it's hard to imagine that things will ever be green again. And then Spring turns to Summer and things start greening. In that same vein, sometimes when the summer is super hot and dry and the bugs are annoying it's difficult to imagine all the green ever changing. Well here we are. The leaves are starting to change and the nights are getting chilly. And the rains have started (grrrr).
So the farm is in full harvest mode. We have 2 more weeks of putting plants in the ground in the tunnels and then it's all harvest. This is why I growl at the rain. It makes it difficult to harvest things, as you can imagine. A lot of our big harvests require the use of a tractor and an implement to lift or pull things from the ground. If the ground is too wet, then the tractors can't get in the fields. So here's hoping for a beautiful Fall. Don't worry, I won't remind you that there was no Fall last year (remember it just rained, and rained, and rained, and the leaves on the trees weren't even a thing, and it was wet, and miserable, and cold, and gross). 
So here's to a great Fall ahead of us, right?! This week's share will include: potatoes, fall and winter squash choice, kohlrabi, carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, salad radishes and turnips, flowering broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, celery, bok choy, and kale.
The Fruit Share will include peaches, plums, pears and apples.

Summer Share Week #17 of 22: 9/24 + 9/26 Climate Strike

by Erin and Steve on 09/23/19

I hope people were able to voice their concerns or listen to others about climate change this past weekend. There is a week long climate strike happening around the world right now and I hope we can come up with some solutions soon to help mitigate climate change. Nothing like an 89 degree day at the end of September (preceded by2 other 80 degree days) to hit the point home.
I spent part of my weekend at Urgent Care, which is why this blog post is late (sorry). My sinus problems due to allergies were horrible in the thick air this weekend. Then on Sunday I started having problems breathing because of it. But all is well and I have a brand new inhaler to carry with me.
So the share this week is plentiful and I hope you are all enjoying the abundance of your share. This week will include: Hella Broccoli!, potatoes, spaghetti squash, delicatas, and buttercups, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, onions, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, cauliflower, brussuls sprout tops, flowering broccoli, edamame, bok choy, tomatoes, acorn squash, greens, garlic, and a Jack-O-Lantern for everyone.
The fruit share will include grapes, peaches, apples, plums and pears.

Summer Share #16 of 22: 9/17+9/19- Taking Time

by Erin and Steve on 09/15/19

**Don't forget to bring your payment for the Winter Share and sign up at this week's Summer Share pick up**
Throughout the week things come up that make me think to myself 'That would be a good thing to blog about'. Unfortunately memory can be fleeting and I rarely remember the ideas when I sit down to blog. The one (of many) things that stuck with me this week is an incident in the share room that made me want to remind everyone to slow the heck down. Apply it to everything, everywhere, all the time. I need to do it, too.
Anyway, Steve and I were actually able to leave the farm this weekend so I apologize to anyone who was expecting a post earlier. But harvest season is in full effect and we needed to take a small respite beforehand. 
So enjoy the bounty. I know the shares are big right now, but that's a good thing!! This week will include: potatoes, winter squash choice, carrots, beets, peppers, eggplant, hopefully broccoli (iffy because we are in-between plantings), hot peppers, kohlrabi, spinach, salad radishes and turnips, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, edamame, bok choy, celery, head lettuce, and escarole.
The fruit share will include organic raspberries, peaches, plums, pears and apples.

Summer Share #15 of 22: 9/10+9/12 WINTER SHARE SIGN UPS START!

by Erin and Steve on 09/08/19

The Winter Share will start signing up current shareholders during share pick up this week. Please bring your payment (the share costs $240) with you when you sign up in the share room. We typically fill up in 3 weeks so don't delay! Visit the we 'shares' tab on the website and scroll down to the winter share link and click on it for more info. Or bring your questions with you to the share room.
As the weather cools for the season (but not for good, this week is looking pretty warm) we keep focusing on the harvest and less and less on weeds and bugs. It's a relief of sorts, but the time crunch is still there. We are going to start topping the brussels sprouts this week. We take the tops off the plants so that it will shift it's focus to making larger sprouts. It's a similar concept to taking the garlic scapes off. So look for brussels sprout tops in the share. If you think they sound crazy I guarantee that if you give them a legitimate shot you'll end up loving them. We are still bringing in the fall and winter squashes, as some of you on Thursday witnessed Steve driving the tractor back and forth from the fields on Shimerville and Roll Rds to the barn carrying bins and boxes full of squashes. We will soon focus on the sweet potato harvest followed by the potatoes, and all the winter roots. It'll take from now until the end of October to get everything out of the ground while also doing everything else we have to do for the CSA and wholesale accounts. The beginning of the end of the growing season has started...I'm trying not to get tired just thinking about the work!
This week's share will continue with a full load. I know the shares have been large these past few weeks, but let's enjoy it! How amazing is this region we live in to provide such abundance and variety? I'm always in awe of it every year. This week's share will include: potatoes, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, scallions, onions, salad radishes, bok choy, melons, head lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and those brussels sprout tops!
**The fruit share will be a share and a half this week due to the late start. It will include table grapes, peaches, plums and pears (and maybe apples??).

Summer Share #14 of 22- 9/3+9/5: The Crazy Continues

by Erin and Steve on 09/01/19

***Just FYI, we will be signing up Winter Shares starting next week. More info coming to your inbox soon!***
The crazy harvest days continue this week. I'm pretty sure that this coming week will be the last weeding we'll have to do for 2019.That's a direct result of temperatures dropping. Nighttime temperatures are important this time of year because if they start dropping below 50 degrees the tomatoes start to protest. Also the fall and winter squashes start coming in from the fields, but the summer squashes and cucumbers are going to be plowed in because they are done for the season.
So it's on to harvest, harvest, harvest for us mostly from now until Thanksgiving. Of course it can be fun, but it is the heaviest time of the year for us. And there is a time crunch involved which adds to the crazy. Here we go!
This week's share will include: potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, peppers, eggplant, bok choy, kohlrabi, winter squash, kale, chard, broccoli, melons, tomatoes, celery, escarole, spinach and choice of salad greens.
The fruit share will include organic raspberries, peaches, nectarines and plums.

Summer Share #13 of 22: 8/27 + 8/29 A Chill

by Erin and Steve on 08/25/19

This is the 3rd day in a row I've had to wear a sweatshirt because of the chill in the air in the morning. It's a great time of year to have your windows open in the house. It makes working conditions pretty nice, too.The cooler weather crops are liking this weather, too. You'll see a small change in the share this week, but a big one in the coming weeks as the vegetable varieties start to change with the changing night time temperatures and day length.
So again, I have to remind everyone not to rush to pumpkin lattes and apples, there is plenty of time for that. Savor the summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and melons and peaches...all the fleeting crops that I'm sure some people whined about at one point already. I eat cucumbers like it is nobody's business during the summer, because they are only available for about 10 to 12 weeks out of the year. That's 40 weeks without fresh cucumbers (this isn't counting the pickles I make and can). Same with tomatoes.
So let's celebrate the insane bounty of the share this week (the shares have been ginormous these past few weeks and this week is no different) and accept the changing seasons as they happen! This week's share will include: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, onions, carrots, beets, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, kohlrabi, melons, chard, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, bok choy, lettuce and sweet corn.
The fruit share will include seedless table grapes, peaches and plums.

Summer Share #12 of 22: 8/20+8/22- Thunder

by Erin and Steve on 08/18/19

Steve and I worked on an organic dairy that also had a horse powered market garden with a small CSA when we lived in Vermont. There was a steer there that I really liked. He was huge, but calm and a bit ho-hum. This isn't typical of steers who are known more for their obnoxious antics. The steer's name was Thunder because his mother gave birth to him in the pasture in the middle of a thunderstorm. The name fit his stature, but not his demeanor.
I think of Thunder the steer when I think of Summer thunderstorms because when you're a farmer a bunch of thunderstorms can be really bad, especially for vegetables. But Thunder the steer is a good memory. Thunderstorms bring in heavy winds, big rain drops and plant diseases. I know I'm going to get asked a couple times this week if 'all this rain is good for the plants'? A ton of rain all at once is generally not good for anything. And thunderstorms at the end of August are usually the mark of the end for cucumbers and summer squashes and dare I say tomatoes in our growing region.
Other crops that love the Fall are doing well, though. And soon you'll see some of the crops we grew in the Spring start returning as well as the ones we grow only in the Fall. The plants dictate their growing seasons, not us, which is why eating with the seasons is a bit magical (and is a simple thing everyone can do to help combat climate change to boot ;).
So if you haven't gotten the subtle hints make sure to get your pickling cukes and canning tomatoes for the season while you are here! Paste tomatoes will be in the share room this week, too, and cherry tomatoes in the u-pick.
This week's share will include: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, cabbage, scallions, onions, fennel, carrots, peppers, eggplant, beets, melons, chard, kale, tomatoes, head lettuce or lettuce mix and maybe sweet corn again. I say maybe about the sweet corn because it might not be ready on Tuesday or maybe even Thursday for that matter. In any case it will eventually be in the share if not this week.
The fruit share will be similar to last week with plums and peaches and nectarines.

Summer Share Week #11 of 22: Halfway

by Erin and Steve on 08/11/19

Week 11 is always a week to note during the CSA season because it marks the halfway point for the Summer Share. For us it marks a shift in energy from frantic and crazy to maintaining and harvesting. Mostly by this point you can look at the fields and literally reap what we've sown. The struggles of the season are apparent at this point (cool, and wet seems to be the theme for this year) as well as the successes. The end date for cover cropping is rapidly approaching; mid-September marks the last date for summer cover crops. The typical first frost of the season is 2 months out which is a deadline for getting some crops out of the fields. I'm happy because by the end of this month hopefully the bugs will take a chill pill.
Following that thought, I just want to make sure that everybody knows we grow all the vegetables and melons and herbs and flowers at the farm. This is the way we've always operated. Every piece of veg you put in your mouth has been seeded by hand in the greenhouse, or by a push seeder in the field, or a pull-type seeder that is pulled by our tractor. Our fields are on the corner of Shimerville and Roll Roads. There is 25+ acres on that corner. I have to make a statement like this every year because we get some strange questions in the share room. The latest one was:
Customer: "Where were these tomatoes grown?"
Share room volunteer: "In the field."
Customer: "Are they local?"
I try not to get worked up over questions like that last one because in my mind I've put so much of my life energy into growing great tasting and healthy vegetables (and melons) for people that it is an insult to me when someone asks me where I've purchased produce. We don't purchase produce. Only the fruit share is purchased because we do not have orchards and our CSA customers wanted access to local fruit. The fruit in the fruit shares are not annuals; we grow annuals.
I would encourage anyone to come talk to me and ask questions about our produce because I've seeded, grown, tended, and harvested it all. The share pick up takes place at my home and all this means a lot to me. It's important to me that our community has access to produce grown without synthetic chemicals (ie organic) that is super fresh and connects people to a specific piece of farmland. In turn I hope our community as a whole is healthier, happier, and connected. This is also important to me.
So I know last week's share was huge, but this week's share is equally awesome. It includes: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers (yes, more cukes...enjoy them while they are here, they do not like this cool stormy weather), carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, peppers, fennel, chard, scallions, lettuce mix, cantaloupes, garlic, and tomatoes.
The fruit share will include apricots, clingstone peaches, nectarines, and hopefully plums.
The first cherry tomatoes of the season are ready in the upick field!

Summer Share #10 of 22: Real Summertime

by Erin and Steve on 08/03/19

There are officially 7 more weeks of Summer. That is almost 2 more months of Summer, which means that we are only a little over a third of the way through the season because Summer is 3 months long. So why are people saying the Summer is almost over...IN THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST? Now you're probably saying to yourself, 'because school is going to start soon'. School starts almost 5 weeks from now. Now my mother used to get mad at me when I would say "Just chill out" to her, but seriously just chill out and enjoy the real Summertime! Stop worrying about when you're going to have to purchase a pumpkin to put on your porch. It's Summer not almost Fall.
To add to that the Summer crops had to endure a freakin cold, wet Spring so I am going to enjoy the Summertime bounty while I can. Why? Because you can't beat the flavor. Seriously. So enjoy this week's share that includes: zucchini, summer squashes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, radicchio, cabbage, scallions, fresh onions, peppers, some eggplant, maybe...we'll see, head lettuce, potatoes, canteloupe (we harvest these fresh just like everything else here so do not put them on your counter; if you do not understand this statement come talk to me and I'll explain how grocery stores work as opposed to farms), tomatoes, more cucumbers, fennel, kale, and chard. The fruit share will include blueberries, apricots, and plums.

Root Down Farm
5850 Shimerville Rd 
Clarence Center, NY 14032

Pick up hours:
Summer Share M and Th 2-6:30
Winter Share M and Th 3-6
Spring Share M and Th 4-6
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